On the Beach Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 81 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of On the Beach.
This section contains 953 words
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Death

The inevitability of death is the major theme of On the Beach. With the radiation cloud approaching Melbourne, the characters in the novel are very aware of their impending deaths. The main characters are all relatively young and they struggle with the intrinsic unfairness of this tragedy, as Peter does when he tries to explain the situation to his wife

"It's the end of everything for all of us," [Peter] said. "We're going to lose most of the years of life we've looked forward to, and Jennifer's going to lose all of them"

Shute explores the way various people react to the sobering reality of death. Several of the characters in On the Beach are in denial, which means they ignore their impending death. For example, Mary plans a garden that she will never live to see. Towers buys thoughtful presents for his late family and remains faithful...

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This section contains 953 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the On the Beach Study Guide
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On the Beach from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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